Books on Mental Health & The Brain


The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain; John Sarno, MD

I grew up believing that all physical pain was caused by injury or ailment and that most often, the cure was in medication or bodily treatment. It was not until many years into my life that I started to truly uncover the connection to the mind & body and how healing the body is often done in the brain. Mental health, as we are increasingly learning, is vital to all aspects of our lives and this book looks at some of those connections and how repression is often the root cause to many of the physical ailments we so commonly see in our society. I'm not saying that everything is mental - by no means can we argue this. But I do think that there is much to be rethought in our culture about mental health and wellbeing and how we go about validating, supporting and cultivating mental wellness.


The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders; John Sarno, MD

The second of Dr. Sarno's books in my recommendation list. Exploring the link between the conscious and unconscious mind, the book provides a greater context for understanding pain and its manifestation.

I'm not going to lie, this being the first of his books that I read, I had a lot of skepticism - I was worried that the theories and research used throughout the book would be twisted in a way that invalidates people's pain and chronic illness and as someone who has seen and treated many people with chronic illness, I did not want to see another book that induced disbelief. But this book is far from invalidating. In fact, it provides such a greater understanding, to me, of how pain is harbored, developed and expressed and has given me new ways to think about and talk with patients about their pain/ailments. I have recommended this book to patients, practitioners and friends alike and all have found it to have value in what it offers us in understanding such a complex system like the mind & body.

The Emotional Life of Your Brain; Richard Davidson & Sharon Begley

I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Richie Davidson several times while living in Wisconsin and always left interactions with him feeling hungry for more knowledge. He has a passion for what he does and an ability to translate his curiosity and commitment to those around him. This book, in particular, is one he co-wrote with Sharon Begley, whereby they explored the nuances of each our individual "emotional fingerprints", looking at the components of everyone's emotional styles: Resilience, Outlook, Social Intuition, Self-Awareness, Sensitivity to Context and Attention. This book not only helped me better understand myself in the context of my life but also gave me insight into the lives of those around me and helped me be better at approaching both personal and professional relationships.

The Anxiety & Worry Workbook; Clark & Beck

An awesome workbook focused on cultivating skills to manage your anxiety and worry. Rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, each skill uses evidence-based theoretical tenets with the goal to help someone manage their distress, distinguish distorted thinking patterns and feel more in control of their worry.

Mood Journal Plus; Erica Falk-Huzar

Written by a dear friend whose willingness to keep showing up every day and fight for herself and those around her inspires others. Here is her write-up about this resource:

Mood Journal Plus was written for you by someone who knows what it is like not being able to find a resource helpful and detailed, yet simple enough, for personal use and even for medical visits. It can be used by anyone who wants to positively impact the way they feel or to increase their enjoyment in life by tracking their moods and their personal wellness. What’s in Mood Journal Plus… 1. Emergency & Medical Info 2. Medication List 3. Safety Plan 4. Crisis Plan 5. Track Your Goals 6. Mood Chart & Journal Each mood chart and journal page has a place to chart your level of mood for the day, hours of sleep, anxiety level, stress level, wellness information, coping skills used, and more!